False Keypad [P]anic and Door/Window Contact Alarms - DSC PC1864

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  #1  
Old 01-07-16, 07:00 PM
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False Keypad [P]anic and Door/Window Contact Alarms - DSC PC1864

My system, a DSC PC1864 v4.6 with a TR5164-433 has generated a five false alarms over a six month period. Here is the log:

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2015-12-28 10:58:43 - Living Room Window Alarm Restoral- Main house
2015-12-28 10:58:41 - Living Room Window Alarm- Main house

2015-12-26 17:49:22 - Front Door Side Light Alarm Restoral- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:21 - Living Room Window Alarm Restore- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:20 - Cross-zoning tripped (Police Code)- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:20 - Front Door Side Light Alarm- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:19 - Living Room Window Alarm- Main house

2015-09-30 08:11:07 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm
2015-09-30 08:11:07 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral

2015-08-24 16:51:02 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral
2015-08-24 16:51:01 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm

2015-06-12 16:53:27 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral
2015-06-12 16:53:27 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm
---------
Here is the summary of my investigation into this -

I spoke with a professional installer and his experience is that these false keypad panic alarms are coming from the keyfobs. Unfortunately, the DSC panel does not log which device was the source. And I confirmed that both keypads and keyfobs panics are logged the same so I could not determine during testing if a given panic came from a keypad or keyfob.

Additionally the keyfobs were not in our pockets during the false keypad panic events. For example, during the false panic on 30 Sept, my wife was not at home and I had my keys laying on the kitchen counter. So I think that would rule out "butt panic".

After rooted around the web on various sites/forums I have determined:

1) A few other folks have seen this but w/o any specific resolution
2) Low battery in the FoB might be causing the symptom - I measured the batteries in the FoB and both were greater than 3.0 VDC
3) In later versions of the panel (e.g. v4.6) the event buffer does not give details as to the source of the panic.

To isolate the problem I programmed the panic button on the FoBs to active Command Output 1 and 2. These get logged in the event buffer so I can determine if a false FoB signal is occurring and which FoB is the source.

The keypad panic button cannot be configured other than enable/disable so any false panics from either of my keypads will be logged as Keypad [P]anic Alarm.

As of this posting, the Keypad [P]anic has not re-occurred.

Fast forward to December and now the system has two more false alarms, this time with door and window contacts. The false alarm on 26 Dec shows "Cross-zoning tripped (Police Code)" which I don't even have programmed in the panel.

I did some more digging and will enable the "Communications Delay" but that will not apply to the Keypad [P]anics, only to my door/window contacts. Given that the restorals are 2 sec, if I set the "Communications Delay" to 5 sec, that should prevent false alarms from my door/window contacts.

This has been frustrating to me and any help on this is appreciated.

Thank you.
 
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Old 01-08-16, 03:23 AM
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Are these zones hardwired or wireless? If the former; you may have one or more contacts that are right on the edge of the activation range of the magnet, and any small shift (due to temperature/humidity, etc.) of the door/window is enough to let the contact open.

If they are wireless, the same applies, with the additional possibility of a zone fault if the transmitter doesn't "check in" once per hour or so.

When you test your batteries, are you testing them under load? If not, the voltage reading is not really useful.
 
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Old 01-08-16, 10:27 AM
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Hi MrRonFL,

Thanks for the reply.

The zones are wireless, the contacts are EV-DW4927SS. Additional information: I have a security camera on the front door which did not show anyone there a the time of the false alarm on the "Front Door Side Light" contact.

How would I test if these contacts are at the edge of activation? I did test during installation and did not notice any hyper-sensitive responses.

And how can I determine if the transmitters are not "checking in"? Is there a means of reading the wireless traffic?

As for the batteries of they keyfobs, good point, I didn't test under load. I'm not certain what the appropriate load would be. I guess I could just buy fresh batteries and replace them.

Thanks for your feedback.
 
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Old 01-08-16, 02:52 PM
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There's no real way to monitor the wireless transmissions with tools available to anyone outside of a DSC testing lab.

The way I check for contact alignment is to turn on the chime, and thump, jiggle and pull on the door/windows. If I hear a chime, then I know the mechanical alignment may be off.
 
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Old 01-11-16, 02:34 PM
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Update:

This weekend I spent ~3 hrs testing the system and reviewing all programming/configuration. I tested every door/window contact, smoke detectors, keyfobs and the TR5164-433, including swapping out with fresh batteries. I found only one issue with a window contact in the dinning room and replaced it - note there were NO false alarms from that contact.

I observed no communications problems between the wireless devices and the TR5164-433/PC1864.

I did change the programming for all the door/window contacts. Previously, only one door had an entry delay - Entry Delay 1. All others were instant. I've now programmed the door/window contacts to have an entry delay of 4 seconds - Entry Delay 2. Given the false alarms have all magically "restored" themselves within 2 seconds, this change should reduce the chances of false alarms on the door/window contacts. This change would not however help with keyfob/smoke detector false alarms.

I still do not know what is causing these false alarms. There is no pattern and no means that I can think of to replicate.

Any help is appreciated.

Thank you.
 
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Old 03-31-16, 03:46 PM
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Update:

Yet another false alarm, on the front door again. I was home, found no issues/problems.

2016-03-19 22:44:28 - Front Door Alarm - Restoral- Main house
2016-03-19 22:44:25 - Front Door Alarm - Main House

2015-12-28 10:58:43 - Living Room Window Alarm Restoral- Main house
2015-12-28 10:58:41 - Living Room Window Alarm- Main house

2015-12-26 17:49:22 - Front Door Side Light Alarm Restoral- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:21 - Living Room Window Alarm Restore- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:20 - Cross-zoning tripped (Police Code)- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:20 - Front Door Side Light Alarm- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:19 - Living Room Window Alarm- Main house

2015-09-30 08:11:07 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm
2015-09-30 08:11:07 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral

2015-08-24 16:51:02 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral
2015-08-24 16:51:01 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm

2015-06-12 16:53:27 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral
2015-06-12 16:53:27 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm
 
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Old 03-31-16, 04:58 PM
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With wireless, it could something as obscure as having a neighbor with a strong Ham radio that lucks onto the right RF harmonic, once in a while. I have had issues with those little rubber insert tamper switches DSC transmitters use. I've had at least one that I ended up having to put a slice of pencil eraser into the back of so it would consistently make contact.

Sadly, there really isn't any undocumented trick to zero in on a randomized glitch like this.
 
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Old 04-02-16, 12:50 PM
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Hi MrRonFL,

Thanks for the feedback. I agree that it is either RF interference or bad equipment. There is no obvious source of RF - no nearby ham operators, no nearby AM/FW/Cell/microwave towers. Only possibility of RF interference is our neighborhood is under the occasional flight path of aircraft on approach. These are 737s/757s and are up ~10K+ feet, doubtful that their emissions can trip an alarm, but who knows.

At this point, I'm gong to start replacing components. I will first buy a new TR5164-433 and put in new wiring between the TR5164-433 and the PC1864. As the false alarms are being reported from at least four zones, that would point to a common equipment problem.

I'll keep posting to keep folks informed.

Again, if anyone has any experience with these sort of symptoms, pls chime in!

Cheers.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yet another one, living room window:

2016-03-19 22:44:28 - Front Door Alarm - Restoral- Main house
2016-03-19 22:44:25 - Front Door Alarm - Main House

2015-12-28 10:58:43 - Living Room Window Alarm Restoral- Main house
2015-12-28 10:58:41 - Living Room Window Alarm- Main house

2015-12-26 17:49:22 - Front Door Side Light Alarm Restoral- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:21 - Living Room Window Alarm Restore- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:20 - Cross-zoning tripped (Police Code)- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:20 - Front Door Side Light Alarm- Main house
2015-12-26 17:49:19 - Living Room Window Alarm- Main house

2015-09-30 08:11:07 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm
2015-09-30 08:11:07 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral

2015-08-24 16:51:02 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral
2015-08-24 16:51:01 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm

2015-06-12 16:53:27 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm Restoral
2015-06-12 16:53:27 - Keypad [P]anic Alarm
 
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